Prior to Deakin’s buyout, Venturedome was both a venture capital news service targeted at the entrepreneur and an investment arm. When the business was seeking regulatory approval for its investment arm earlier this year the SFA raised concerns about the link with the news site. These concerns focused on the fact that if Venturedome as a whole entity was SFA-regulated releases on the news wire risked being construed as regulated advice and therefore also subject to SFA disciplines. Since the Venturedome news service is intended to provide both information and industry gossip it would have been seriously hampered by these constraints.
Venturedome, minus its investment arm, continues to operate its news service and looks to be building a community site that offers entrepreneurs an explanation of private equity and its various permutations and practical advice. As it grows its business model minus the investment arm Venturedome appears to be replicating elements of the First Tuesday business model with the launch of the China Orange meetings for entrepreneurs along similar lines to the Tuesday events.
Venturedome’s most recent deal to assist entrepreneurs is a strategic alliance with moneysupermarket.com. moneysupermarket.com was launched in December last year by the Mortgage 2000 group, which originally started out in 1993 to provide mortgage sourcing software to Independent Financial Advisers and mortgage brokers. The site allows users to compare the deals on offer from every lender in the business mortgage market in minutes. Darren Neylon, chief executive of Venturedome, says: “Commercial borrowing is an important part of a business’ funding strategy. Any tool which empowers business people to drive down their commercial borrowing costs has to be a good thing.”
Venturedome was backed in early 2000 with around GBP1 million in seed and first-round funding from the AIM-listed investment firm Springboard. In June, when Venturedome was both a news and community site and an investment arm, it had to pull its planned float on AIM. Uncertainty in world stock markets and the jitters surrounding new media and technology stocks were blamed.